Kia has been busy during the past few years introducing a succession of important new models. One recent addition to the lineup is the Sedona, which launched for 2002 as the first minivan from the South Korean automaker to reach the U.S. market.
For 2004, the Sedona gets an interior and exterior freshening and the redesigned grille features a larger Kia logo, and the wheels and wheel covers have been restyled. Both the base LX and upscale EX models can now be equipped with a DVD entertainment system.
Following the lead of its other models, Kia promotes the front-wheel-drive Sedona’s price and value. The automaker’s warranty covers the powertrain for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Kia also promotes the Sedona’s five-star frontal and side-impact ratings in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash tests.
Kia’s minivan broke no new ground in styling, so it’s similar to the competition. Sleek in appearance, the Sedona has a character line down its sides. A long, sloping hood leads into a grille featuring a horizontal-bar design and multireflector headlights.
Dual sliding side doors are standard. The higher-end EX model adds a body-colored roof rack, fog lights, alloy wheels and additional chrome body trim.
The Sedona seats seven occupants on bucket seats in the first row and benches in the back. The second- and third-row seats slide fore and aft and can be reclined or removed. Bucket seats are installed in the second row of the EX model.
Standard LX equipment includes front and rear air conditioning, twin glove boxes, a CD stereo, power windows, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel, a tachometer, an intermittent rear wiper and washer, and rear privacy glass. The EX model adds heated mirrors, power rear-quarter windows, lighted vanity mirrors, keyless entry and a cassette/CD stereo. Only a handful of options, including a moonroof and leather upholstery, are offered.
Kia’s 3.5-liter dual-overhead-cam V-6 engine develops 195 horsepower. The V-6 runs on regular gasoline and drives a five-speed-automatic transmission.
Dual front airbags are standard, but side-impact airbags are not available. Antilock brakes are optional. Child-safety seat anchors are installed in the second row.
Taken as a whole, the Sedona ranks as top-notch even if it doesn’t reach far above the pack in any specific category. The Sedona is comfortable, smooth riding, refined and energetic — it scores high in each important minivan attribute. Take its modest sticker price into consideration, and Kia clearly has another high-value model.
The Sedona accelerates in a hurry. Even when trudging up long grades, the V-6 pulls the minivan along effortlessly. The transmission responds smoothly and with only moderate delay when a downshift is necessary. The Sedona is exceptionally quiet and handles predictably. Not only is the steering pleasantly precise, but this minivan is also easy to drive.
Most of the Sedona’s seats are comfortable and spacious, but the second-row seats are a bit hard. Getting into the driver’s seat isn’t quite as easy as it is in some minivans, and the EPA-estimated gas mileage lags behind the competition. But those are about the only quibbles for Kia’s appealing, if unexceptional, minivan.